Dmitrii Drozd: My release certificate is endorsed, “Subject to supervision”

The political prisoner Dmitry Drozd had to go through hell, but he has no regrets about anything.

The telephone of the mother of the scholar-archivist, who was released just two days ago, does not stop ringing. Dmitrii Drozd’s own mobile is still with the KGB. But Dmitrii is pleased to communicate and openly and frankly tells us what he had to go through during the last half year.

On 19 December he was detained at the Square and sentenced to ten days. Then later, on 1 February, he was arrested and charged under both parts of Article 293 of the Criminal Code: riots.

“I was sleeping, and then my mother woke me up. She said, “Dima, they have come for you.” Two men in black jackets without any markings had arrived. They did not say where they were from or identify themselves. They said that it was necessary to interrogate me as a witness. I said goodbye to my mother. I was taken to the Investigation Committee on Saperov Street, where they showed me a video of Square and charged me.

At first I was in the prison on Okrestin Street, then on Volodarskii Street. I was in cell number 18; 21 people occupied 21 square metres. We slept in three shifts; day and night there was activity; the bright light was never switched off; there was no air; there was exercise for just one hour (per day) …” Dmitrii relates calmly.

“I immediately denied during the investigation that I was on the video, regardless of the pressure which they applied. As a result, I only saw the investigator about three times over that period; there was no investigation as such, as far as I am concerned. They understood that I would not talk with them and they lost interest. As for the court – everything went as I expected. The evidence of witnesses was confused. There was not one policeman who had detained me on the Square. The video recording itself was not studied in court; one “victim” said that he had no complaints against me. Everything was predictable. They said, “If you admit your guilt, you will get 3 years; if you plead not guilty, then you will get 3 and a half years. I pleaded not guilty,” the political prisoner told the site

The process of Drozd’s release from the prison in Bobruisk was as follows:

“For about two hours they were trying to persuade me; on Saturday a major and a man in plainclothes arrived . I was in the industrial area at the time. They asked a lot about my views; at first I did not understand what the purpose of the conversation was. Then I realized. We talked about politics; I spoke about the devaluation, they talked about other things. It was a conversation between “People’s Will” and “Soviet Belarus”. Then they changed the topic to my mother: that she is seriously ill and is worried about me. Her brother had just died in June, and it was very hard for my mother. In other words, they knew how to apply pressure. Then they asked if I wanted to return to my own work. ‘Of course I do’, I said. ‘To do that’, they said, ‘you need to buy a lottery ticket’. They began to dictate a request for pardon, but when they came to the phrase “I admit my guilt,” I refused to write it. Then we agreed on the wording, “I do not admit guilt, but I regret what I have personally done.” Their goal was to get these requests at any price. On 5 August my documents were sent to Minsk, and on 11 August I learned that I had been pardoned. But I am still a person with a criminal record; I have to be registered. “Subject to supervision” is written on my release certificate.”

Despite all the suffering that he has had to go through, Dmitrii Drozd has no regrets about his participation in the election campaign of Andrei Sannikov.

“When Oleg Bebenin died, I realized that I must do something, and I joined the initiative group of Andrei Sannikov. There I met wonderful people who supported me and supported my mother. I knew that with them my mother would be protected, like behind a stone wall. Even my friends and classmates did not support my family as Sannikov’s team have done,” said the political prisoner.